Burley Griffin Way
Mr PICCOLI (Murrumbidgee) [5.39 p.m.]: I draw to the attention of the House an important issue for my electorate. However, interestingly enough, the issue does not pertain to the geography of my electorate. I refer to Burley Griffin Way, which is more specifically known as Main Road 84. Burley Griffin Way is the major link between Griffith and Yass. The road then joins the Hume Highway, which leads to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. The condition of Burley Griffin Way has deteriorated significantly. Those who are familiar with the Murrumbidgee electorate and the Riverina generally would be aware of the quantity of produce that comes out of that area. It has a significant wine industry. We also have Barbers Enterprises, whose 30-odd semitrailers traverse Burley Griffin Way each week on their way to Canberra or Sydney. The main concern is the fact that B-doubles are not able to use the route because a couple of significant corners along Burley Griffin Way that formed part of the old Hume Highway, which has now been replaced by the four-lane expressway, in particular around the town of Bowning, are too narrow. Those areas need to be addressed.
One area that was dealt with at the time of the opening of the Illawong bypass only last year was perhaps the worst stretch of road that I have ever travelled on in New South Wales or Australia. I am pleased that that stretch of road has been opened. I travelled the length of Burley Griffin Way only yesterday on my way to Canberra and then to Sydney and observed that the road is in a rather parlous condition. I am sure that those who watched the news or saw the football yesterday would agree that yesterday's weather conditions would have made the conditions on the road even worse. As I travelled along the Illawong bypass, which was opened only last year, I noticed that three parts of it were under repair. In those parts I noticed that the surface had been dug up and the road looked as though it was in need of resealing. That is a bit of a worry. Transport is obviously one of the major items of concern when seeking to increase efficiency for producers in country areas,.
Recently I was told by an executive of a trucking company who does contract work for the Rice Growers Co-operative that separate quotes are provided for semitrailer B-doubles and road trains, and that there can be a discrepancy of as much as a 30 per cent per tonne in freight costs, depending on what mode of trucking transport is used. That is an important issue for companies who are located in the western Riverina, who have long distances to cover and for whom transport is a significant production cost. Their ability to use road train transport is critically important. It is absolutely critical that they are able to use Burley Griffin Way as the main link between the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and Sydney.
Therefore, it goes without saying that that road needs the attention of the relevant Minister and the Government generally so that it can be upgraded and B-doubles are able to use the road. I am sure all members are committed to the creation and maintenance of jobs. I and others have a great desire to have country jobs saved, and we will do everything in our power to increase the productivity of country industries and businesses. As we are all aware, transport is one of the significant cost factors for those businesses and industries. I urge the Minister to address the matters I have raised with regard to Burley Griffin Way.
Ms NORI (Port Jackson—Minister for Small Business, and Minister for Tourism) [5.44 p.m.]: I commend the honourable member for Murrumbidgee for raising matters with regard to Burley Griffin Way, which is otherwise known as Main Road 84, between Griffith and Yass. I undertake to provide a copy of his contribution to the Minister for Roads.